FEATURE: Year of the Water Snake predictions

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Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - The new energies of the Year of the Water Snake slithered in at 12.15am on Feb 4, replacing the tumultous zeal of the Water Dragon.

Will the year be better? More importantly, are there wealth opportunities and will the tides of change bring about better developments?

Joey Yap, the founder, CEO and master trainer of the Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics says that globally, problems will not dissolve in 2013. In fact, it will be prolonged to 2014.

"When we look at the Bazi chart for the Water Snake year, the prominent elements this year are wood, metal and fire. There is especially a lot of wood, which is likened to a big tree.

"The wood is like a small knife. Hence the year is defined as a small knife cutting a big tree," says Yap.

As the Water Snake will continue to see a lot of volatility, Yap says the strategy of investment should be skewed towards trading. Hence, do not be so defensive and start investing!

Unlike most people who are not calling outright buys on Malaysia, Yap is especially positive about Malaysia's prospects, and sees the country doing relatively well compared with other countries.

"Malaysia has the presence of the growth star, so I feel Malaysia is actually going to do better despite what everyone says. People are willing to take more risk in Malaysia and Singapore. You will be surprised. Malaysia will be better this year than last.

Yap: 'Despite the fears people have about the stability situation here, investments into the country will continue to pour in.'

He adds that for Malaysia, the wealth stars appears in April, July and October. There will be a total of four wealth stars this year. During this period, there will be an influx of wealth and business. Hence for Malaysia, Yap also favours the second half of the year compared with the first half of the year.

Furthermore, a very pleasant development is that money flows out of China, and comes into Malaysia! With Star 3, which is the Fighting Star governing China, people will be moving their money out of China into Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and its ultimate destination, Australia.

Kenny Hoo, founder and chief researcher of Good Feng Shui Geomantic Research says that the Year of The Water Snake is the year of correction. It is signified by changes, be it new policies, new systems and new guidelines. He says people may feel uncomfortable because they will not be able to do things the same old way. It can be painful even.

"In Malaysia especially, the first half will be marked by transition. There will be uncertainty, there be repackaging and restructuring.

"We will see new products and new services coming onstream. After July, we can expect to see major improvement, whether it's in the economy and the stockmarket. In fact, the uptrend may be rather exponential," says Hoo.

Meanwhile, Asian brokerage and investment group CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets earlier this week launched its 19th annual CLSA Feng Shui Index, which is a tongue-in-cheek look at what the celestial signs suggests is in store for stock market indexes, key sectors and each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs during this Year of the Black Water Snake.

Based on the Fengshui index, it would appear that equity markets perform better in the first half, and experience more volatile trade in the second half. Overall, the index will finish on positive territory by year end. The big drop in the market is likely to happen in the August to September period.

The United States

So what does the analogy of the small knife cutting the big tree mean, especially for the United States, the world's biggest economy?

Hoo: 'After July, we can expect to see major improvement, whether it's in the economy and the stockmarket.'

"In America, it has a debt problem. It is unable to settle this debt. The wood element is wealth. So the abundance of wood represents that it cannot control money. When wealth is too strong and the self is weak, this means you cannot control your wealth.

"So it is like a rich house with a poor person. That is the image of how America looks like. It is a rich country but the people are poor," says Yap.

He points out that Star 7, which is the star of injury, bloodshed and fights is present in the United States this year.

"So the US will be mired in shootings and security issues. Security becomes a major problem in the United States. That affects business negatively. Star 7 is also a star of fear.

People in America are afraid of spending. So they stop spending their money, meaning the economy is not going to move, it's going to contract. In America, they may be talking about boosting this and that, but it's all talk and no action," says Yap.

Nonetheless, the fortunes of America will not be uniformly in the doldrums as Star 7 is a metal star which runs all the way until July before its energies start to dissipate.

"So you will feel the effects in the first half of the year, but it gets better until the November period. Then the energies will come back in the beginning of 2014," says Yap.

So the United States will think it is recovering, but later on discover that the small knife cannot cut a big tree, so this illusion of a recovery disperses. Hence they become disillusioned," feels Yap.

In the United States, it is an issue of people losing confidence in their politicians. They do not see light at the end of the tunnel.

Hoo also feels that America will not see much progress.

China

As the opposite of the West is the East, the opposite of the United States is China. When the United States is not doing well, China will do well.

In China, there is Star 3, which represents growth. The problem with Star 3 is that it is a Fighting Star. There is fight for power.

The problem in China is about who is in control. There is a lot of corruption. Star 3 is also a star of corruption.

There will be a lot of scandals, with people in power losing their grip, parties being divided two to three-folds," says Yap.

Yap adds that the 3 Killings Star is also present in China. With Star 3 being a wood star, and wood-based industries include manufacturing and production, manufacturing will slow down. Thus the picture painted is the 3 Killings Star killing Star 3.

"It's like throwing strong cyanide down to the plants. So growth will slow down in China," says Yap.

Europe

Now, in the middle of China and the United States is the Middle East and Europe. This area is governed by Star 5. Star 5 is a star of change and renewal. Picture the entrance of a new king.

Yap foresees Europe continuing to remain on a standstill with no improvement. Everyone continues to look inward.

"Hence wars in the Middle East get worse. There will also be a dose of natural disasters. People will be divided. This poison will spread to Europe, and hence there will be change,"

"Germany has been the one which has been in power, but it is now losing its grip. It will affect its stability. The 5 Yellow star is present in the entire eurozone area. This star does not represent growth.

He says Germany is focusing very much on its internal issues. Correcting its own scandals, throwing out the rubbish. "They are looking inward this year."

Meanwhile, in France, it is governed by the Horse animal sign.

"This year, the Horse has nobility stars. Thus despite all its issues, it will get its act together. The tides turn to its favour.

Malaysia

With all the bad stars roiling across the major economies, is there any bright spot at all?

Yes, and fortunately for us, it is right here in SouthEast Asia!

"South-East Asia is governed by Star 4, which is a star of growth. Star 4's wood element is able to control and counter the 5 Yellow earth star. Furthermore, Malaysia is born in the Year of The Rooster. The combination of the Rooster with the Snake year is a good one. So as a comparison to the whole world, South-East Asia is doing well, and Malaysia will grow," says Yap.

"We are in a region where there is a growth star. Despite us having the small knife cutting the big tree. We don't have big problems. So people will turn to South-East Asia for manufacturing or business prospects. Despite the fears people have about the stability situation here, investments into the country will continue to pour in. China will be bringing more money here," says Yap.

Hoo agrees. He says that southern countries do well.

"There will be clashes in the first six months, but things get a lot more smoother and stable in the second half. Hence my strategy will be for investors to start accumulating now and sell during the second half," says Hoo.

Zeroing in on Malaysia, Yap says the Malaysian Bazi chart has the animal signs of Monkey, Rooster and Boar, which spells a positive start for the snake.

As Malaysia has a Wood Day Master, this shows that wood-based industries will do well. Wood-based industries include the timber, furniture, healthcare, medicine, herbs and anything which has anything to do with improving health. Hence the sports sector will also do well. Education, speaking, teaching and training sectors will also do well.

The other element that is expected to do relatively well this year is the Fire element.

For Malaysia though, the fire is rather muted. In Malaysia, the fire sector includes sectors such as oil and gas, palm oil and the airlines. He does, however, foresee a challenging time for airlines.

Hoo says that the fire sectors such as telecommunications, oil and gas and electronics will be facing new competition and new guidelines.

As for the property sector, which is defined by earth, there is no clash with the other elements. Growth is, however, slow, as the earth element is not in abundance this year.

"So you will need to look at the developers and property launches. If they are launching their ready product this year to be sold, it won't be too good. If they are launching their products this year to be sold in the next few years, then it is ok. Property is still a good long-term bet," says Yap.

Thus, Yap will not advise investors to buy properties for flipping purposes. Buying for long-term investments or for cashflow will yield much better rewards.

On this note, Yap especially sees potential in commercial properties based on the formation of the water elements surrounding earth in the Bazi chart.

"Commercial properties will be snapped up fast as compared with residential properties. Earth is property. Earth controlling water is equal to money," says Yap.

The growth star is also slowly moving towards Rawang. That will eventually be the growth property hub for Malaysia.

For this year though, the hot spots for property are north and south, which is Penang and Johor.

The Klang Valley is afflicted by the 5 Yellow star this year. While 5 Yellow does not represent growth, it is always a change for the better.

Thus for long-term purposes, Yap advocates buying property in the Klang Valley.

Meanwhile, Yap sees the banking sector being weaker this year. This is because there is too much wood element this year. This wood represents a lot of money, however, there are no takers. The question to ask is why are the banks not lending?

"The earth element is there. There is too much regulation, stopping the banks from doing business. It is like when you want to do something, and your mum is stopping you and giving you warnings. This is what happening in the banking industry. Too much earth producing metal, is like too much advice that is not necessary and will not yield an efficient result."

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